This winter is going to look different from last year. Usually when winter hits, we stay inside more and hunker down, out of the cold. But winters in Colorado can be mild at times, with temperatures in the 60’s at times. Of course at night it does get colder, especially now that the sun goes down around 5 o’clock. So, what to do during the winter with your family when you’re mostly at home? Here is a list of 10 fun, cheap and easy family night ideas that you can pull off with just a few minutes of planning. Doing something out-of-the ordinary can perk up everyone’s moods and make life just a bit more fun. You can even plan one activity per week and get through the next 2-3 months without being bored out of your minds!
1: Chocolate Fondue Night
This is one of our family’s favorite winter night activities, and only takes about 10-15 minutes of prep time. Eat an early dinner, then check out this DIY chocolate fondue recipe from Rocky Mountain Lodge in Pikes Peak. Use your fancy or fun entertaining platters and bowls for the dippers, and go to town with sweet, decadent chocolate covered goodies!
2: Drive-by Light Peeping
Seeing houses, buildings and streets lit up at night with holiday lights is always a mood booster. Make it a short trip and drive through your neighborhood, or go see planned holiday light displays throughout Denver to see just how extravagant lighted Christmas displays can get.
3: Socially-distanced Marshmallow Roasting
It’s winter, but sometimes you can pretend like it’s still summer! Get out your firepit, grab your s’mores essentials, and invite a neighboring family over for socially-distanced marshmallow roasting. For extra fun, try a variation or two of regular s’mores and get your kids into creating different combinations of crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Enjoy social time with your friends during this fun, outdoor activity!
4: Family Movie Night
Mix up family movie night by watching a movie in an usual location! Lay out sleeping bags on your living room floor, pile into your bathroom surrounded with couch cushions and pillows, or jump into mom and dad’s bed for a comfy movie watching event. Take turns choosing the movie and pop homemade popcorn with different topping options, and it’s a movie event!
5: Inside picnic
Cooking together with your family can be fun, if your kids are a bit older and interested in food, or it can be dicey if your kids are too young to help. If cooking a fun meal together seems a bit out of reach right now, plan simple, picnic-style fare and cop a squat on your family room floor. Crank up the heat, set out a picnic blanket and disposable plates/utensils and make the cold Colorado night seem like a warm summer afternoon!
6: Indoor Obstacle Course
If you’re looking for a more active night with your family, create a fun obstacle course throughout your home that is fun for all! Being active together can bring a family even closer, and shows the value you place to your kids on physical activity. Try out these fun ideas or create your own!
7: Dance Party 2020!
Create a family music playlist with each family member choosing different songs for inclusion on the list. Then spread out the furniture in your biggest room, turn off the lights and turn on the music! If you have a disco ball or different colored light bulbs you can put in lamps) then it makes the ambiance even more authentic. Then, dance away with your family! Show your kids moves from when you were young or learn their moves to be the coolest mom and dad on the block.
8: Family Game Night
To get your family motivated for family game night, make it even more fun by creating a theme and putting out fun snacky foods. Stack up several games, making sure that each family member has their favorite included, and come up with small prizes for game winners. Learning and playing games together is good for the whole family!
9: Homemade puppet show
Set the stage for a family puppet show! Make your puppets using paper bags, socks, or shadow outlines and then act out a story together. Each family member can be a main character, or you can be creative with your characters and include inanimate objects or funny animals in your story. If your kids are very young, act out a fairy tale or other known story so they can participate too.
10: Dress-up night (everyone dresses up in theme or funny costumes and acts out a story or play)
Decide on a theme for the night such as spies, superheroes, or different animals. Give each family member 15 minutes to collect costume ideas from throughout your house and closets and meet up in your kitchen when you’re done. Have the kids choose a story line, then act it out together as a family. If you plan ahead enough, you can even choose dinner or snacks that align with your theme and make your activity last for several hours!
I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired! These fun family night activities are great when you are staying home due to COVID during the long Colorado winter. Breaking up your stale weeknight or weekend routine is a fun way to change it up and get you and your family feeling excited about doing new things in a safe way again.
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Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, guest blogger, and owner of Catalyss Counseling in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.